Anyhow, following on from the post I made about the background behind my decision to make the polonaise, the weekend was spent working on the pattern itself. Truly Victorian Patterns are a completely new experience to me – completely different to anything else I’ve ever touched. You take your measurements then choose individual pieces based on the measurements.
For example, the distance between your shoulders might be quite small. In that case you’d choose a size A or B back, but you might still be quite large at the front so you’d choose a size L front so that it would fit. You may have big shoulders/arms and need a Size M sleeve. It’s quite a good system because with minimal effort you can get an item that fits much better than it would otherwise, but at first it seems very confusing.
Anyhow, once I had worked out which pieces I needed, I set to work copying across my pattern onto another piece of paper. This is a task I’ve always hated and for a long time skipped, but it really does make a difference: your patterns can be reused whenever you need them this way, and if you change size you don’t need a whole new pattern – plus it’s helpful if you know you’re going to need to adjust everything you make anyway! When I’m done with cutting everything, I store these pattern copies alongside the rest of my patterns, with the exact details of the size, the pattern, and any alterations made on a piece of paper enclosed. This particular pattern also required two pieces sticking together so that the front piece is only one piece of fabric. I did this at the same time.
Next task: take the paper copies and put them on the toile fabric, then trace and transfer markings.Some of the pleats on this pattern needed to be moved depending on the size made, so I had to do that at the same time. Washable pens are your friends by the way. Cutting out the fabric next, and triple checking that you have cut out every piece. There’s quite a few pieces overall in this outfit, though most of them are in the form of facings and suchlike. It’s still worth making sure that you have everything you need.
And then, of course, putting it together. This took surprisingly little time, even though I have only done a few darts in my time. So far, so good. At this stage, I didn’t bother with the facings or the sleeves, as I only really wanted to check the fit for the bodice. I tried it on the dress form and decided that really I needed to try it on properly, with all the rest of the outfit on underneath. When I did, I was actually very pleased.
Again – apol0gies for the fuzzy photos. The fit is much better on me than on the dress form ( the dress form isn’t *quite* set to the right size to deal with the new corset) though it did look remarkably… well – Belle-ish. Considering that Beauty and the Beast is set around 100 years before this, it seems incredibly odd!
That being said, I’m now not sure what to do: this was never intended to be seen by anyone really (beyond a couple of quick photos on here, but I reckon that with a bit of, ribbon, some lace and some more pale yellow or white fabric to put the bustle and underskirt together, it’d make a decent Belle cosplay – good enough that I could perhaps wear it for World Book Day. Then again, there’s pen in places where it won’t easily wash out – should I just go with my original plan and dress up as a mech from Cogheart? Hmmm.
I think I’ll take a few bits apart, add the facings to tidy stuff up, put in the sleeves and see how it all looks then. I’ve got a couple of weeks and a half term before World Book Day, so I can always change my mind.